Make no bones about it—Halloween is all about having some spine-tingling fun. This year, why not share the scare by hosting a trick-or-treat party for child's school or neighborhood friends?
With these tips and ideas, you can throw a monster bash on a budget that's not frightening at all.
Set a Spooktacular Scene
Whether you want to go all-out scary or keep it all in good fun, you can combine store-bought decorations with homemade creations to save money.
- Line fake gravestones along your walkway. Buy them pre-made, or make them yourself using foam or cardboard and spray paint.
- Perch eerie, fake birds near your doorway, and hang cobwebs anywhere you can reach.
- Place creepy-crawlies, like plastic spiders, everywhere.
- Add scary inflatable figures to your yard—the designs get more elaborate every year, and they store easily when deflated.
- Turn an inexpensive, thrift-store stockpot into a spooky kitchen-table centerpiece. Just add dry ice and warm water for frightfully fun fog. Always wear gloves when you handle dry ice and always store it in a ventilated container.
- A jack-o-lantern is a Halloween classic. Easy stencils make complex witch, werewolf, and scary-face designs a breeze.
- Use rechargeable outdoor tea lights and Halloween-themed string lights as safer alternatives to candles.
- Build a scarecrow—all you need are wooden garden stakes, pillows, straw, and old clothes.
- Use unexpected items in a whole new way. Spray paint branches or old lamps black and orange and use them as centerpieces; make spooky skeleton cut-outs with poster board; use toilet paper to wrap someone up in a nifty mummy costume; or bring the outdoors in with hay bales and mums.
Frightfully Fun Games
Kids and grownups alike will get a kick out of these Halloween games.
- Halloween Charades: write down Halloween characters, places and things on pieces of paper. Fold the papers and put them in a bowl. Then have each person, in turn, pick a piece of paper and act out the written words until the game's audience guesses what's being acted out. Want more competition? Split the group into teams and award candy prizes for correct answers.
- Pin the Nose on the Pumpkin: you'll need a pumpkin (either real or made out of orange construction paper), pushpins or tape, a blindfold, and several pumpkin noses (black construction paper will work). Draw eyes and a mouth on your pumpkin's face, and hang it up. Blindfold a player, spin him around, hand him a paper nose (secured with a pushpin for adults and tape for children) and direct him toward the pumpkin. The player who attaches the nose closest to the right spot wins. You could also play Pin the Wart on the Witch, or Pin the Smile on the Scarecrow.
- Pumpkin Decorating Contest: set out markers, stickers, glue, construction paper, buttons and other household items. Give guests a pumpkin and a 30-minute decoration time frame. Award prizes for the "Prettiest," "Scariest," and "Most Interesting." Don't want winners or losers? Let kids decorate and take home their pumpkins.
If you don't have the time or patience to sit down and sew a costume, that's okay. There are many costumes available in discount or party stores at prices that won't scare you. From a beautiful princess to a creepy monster, you'll find your child's favorite costumes at affordable prices.
If you want to go the extra mile and create some gory additions to your costumes, whip up some fake blood, wounds and face paint.
- Face Paint: combine 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/4 teaspoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon food coloring with 1/2 cup of cold cream.
- Wound: petroleum jelly makes creepy wound shapes. Fill the wound with 2 or 3 drops of red food coloring and a pinch of cocoa powder.
- Fake Blood: Mix 1 teaspoon red food coloring and 1 squirt of dish soap with 2/3 cup white corn syrup. Just be sure to keep your fake blood away from your mouth and eyes.
For more Halloween party tips, decoration ideas, and activities, visit Walmart's website.
Eerily Good Eats
For a super-simple, sweet treat both kids and adults love, make Crunchy Ghosts:
- Pick up bags of mini-marshmallows, popcorn, and chocolate chips as well as a stick of butter.
- Microwave about 40 mini-marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of butter in a bowl, until completely melted.
- Pour the mix over popped popcorn and toss well so all the popcorn is evenly coated and sticky.
- Then, using hands that have been well-greased with remaining butter, form the popcorn into oval shapes with flat bottoms and pop two chocolate chips on your "ghost" for eyes.
To keep trick-or-treating fun and safe for everyone, keep these tips in mind:
- Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.
- Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
- Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
- Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.
- Children should carry a flashlight and wear reflective or bright colored clothing at night.
For other ways to help keep costumed kids visible during evening trick-or-treating, look for products that glow or light up, such as:
- Light-up costumes
- Glow sticks
- Reflective stickers
- Light-up necklaces
Photo courtesy of Getty Images. Party ideas, recipe, and safety tips courtesy of Walmart.